As if the idea of a movie based on the board game Battleship wasn't worrying enough, it was recently announced that the bad guys are going to be aliens. Although, FYI, take my opinion about the antagonists with a big grain of salt, as I don't think a Battleship movie is a good idea to begin with.
It appears that studio Universal and director Peter Berg have been lending their ears to the negative reaction their Battleship movie has gotten - particularly about the aliens being the "villains," and so the studio sent some journalists and bloggers to the U.S.S. Sterett, where they got a chance to ask questions to Berg about the project.
Thanks to reports from Latino Review and CHUD, we now have some insight into what shape Berg's Battleship may take:
Those lucky enough to get invited to this thing managed to get a look at some early concept art for the alien enemies, which over at Latino Review are described as, "black, [with] legs that spread out sort of like water spiders you see on the top of lakes. They looked pretty H.G. Wells-ish and supposedly each ship matches up very well to our ships." CHUD reports the effects are being done by ILM, which is extremely encouraging news.
The alien race are apparently called The Regents, and will be a combo of real-life actors and CGI. Berg compared it to the Davey Jones effect from Pirates of the Caribbean (also done by ILM), but much less complicated. The aliens come from a different planet than us (naturally) but one with a similar ecology to ours. However, the interesting part is that Battleship will be set apart from most other alien invasion movies in that the aliens aren't coming down to destroy or take over, but are looking to build a huge power source in the ocean. This "goal" inevitably brings them into conflict with us and our battleships.
Peter Berg on the USS Sterett (Image Source: Latino Review)
Where's the conflict, I hear you ask? Well, it's sort of one of those situations where the problem isn't really with you, but if you're in my way, then one way or another you're getting out of my way (to paraphrase Harvey Keitel's Mr White from Reservoir Dogs :) ). The aliens apparently won't have super-advanced technology (another thing setting it apart from most invasion movies - my skepticism is diminishing, I must admit) but will employ ballistics-based weapons, like ours.
Berg also mentions that while the ships can fly and do so to get to Earth, once they land in the ocean they stay there. One of their ships will be damaged which is presumably why they can't just fly away and are forced to battle our ships. Berg also makes mention of the fact that the story won't all be seen from the humans' perspective, but we'll get to see The Regent's side of the action, too, which is great news, IMO.
Inevitably there has to be a hero fighting on our side (this is where you insert a big name actor - Will Smith, perhaps? He HAS worked with Berg before on Hancock...) and Berg says it will be a Commanding Officer of a destroyer ship, which is the main one we'll see in the film. The CO has a team of five guys (there's your team that we can root for!) which include the XO (the number 2 in command), a Mustang (a man who has risen through the ranks to become an officer) and the chief engineer, who's described by Berg as a, "modern day Scotty."
The USS Sterett (Image Source: Latino Review)
You can head over to both Latino Review and CHUD for a whole lot more details and pics, including their tour of the U.S.S. Sterett (shown above) and more answers from Berg as he was quizzed about a lot of aspects of the movie.
I must admit I am A LOT less skeptical about Battleship now than I was before I read all of that. To me, basing a movie on what is one of the most plotless board games in history sounds stupid. And making aliens the bad guys in this specific case just adds to that. But Berg really sounds passionate about the project, and details like the aliens having similar technology to us (it'll be a fair fight!), that they're not coming to destroy us or take us over, and that ILM is doing the special effects really make me reconsider my doubts.
I'm still not full on-board this battleship (see what I did there? :P ), but once I start to see some pics and even some footage and it delivers on the potential Berg has laid down, I may be all for the movie. What do you think of the details that have emerged about Battleship? Does it put any worries you may have had about it to rest? What aspects sound best to you?
Battleship is set to start shooting next Spring, and has a set release date of August 5th, 2011.
Sources: Latino Review, CHUD and /Film